Plan your holi-stay with these holiday events in ‘hoods around Greater Houston

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Courtesy of Discovery Green

Turn your visit to Greater Houston’s favorite holiday events into overnight opportunities to explore vibrant neighborhoods with a holiday staycation. 

As the holiday season gets underway, events are popping up all around the Greater Houston area, offering visitors a chance to celebrate the season and get into the spirit of giving.

We’ve compiled a list of highlights taking place in different areas around the Greater Houston area throughout the winter season, along with a few ideas to help you plan a holiday staycation.

The Nutcracker | Photo courtesy of Houston Ballet

Holiday Events in Houston

The city of Houston plays host to many popular events to get your holiday cheer brimming. Round out your festive fun with a stroll around the city’s walkable ‘hoods, check out world-class museum exhibits, or smack your lips on tasty seasonal brews at several of Houston’s award-winning breweries.

  • Zoo Lights at Houston Zoo | Saturday, November 23 through Sunday, January 12, 2020 – Get a new view of the Houston Zoo as you stroll through evening displays of more than two million Christmas lights at one of the city’s premier holiday attractions. Enjoy warm-you-up goodies like hot chocolate, churros, and s’mores; make your way through the new 100-foot-long Infinity Tunnel of Light; and take photos with Santa on select nights. Tickets start at $12.95. 5pm to 9:30pm. 
  • Houston Ballet presents The Nutcracker at Wortham Theater Center | Friday, November 29 through Sunday, December 29 – Houston Ballet returns with another year of the magical Christmas classic that features stunning sets and costumes, dazzling choreography, and state-of-the-art stage technology. Tickets start at $39, but you may find cheaper or better seats on TicketNetwork’s resale site. Showtimes vary
  • 100th Annual Mayor’s Holiday Celebration & Tree Lighting at City Hall | Saturday, November 30 | FREE – The centennial celebration of the mayor’s annual holiday extravaganza kicks off the Christmas season with a tree lighting in front of City Hall. Expect live entertainment, fireworks, and family-friendly activities. Receive a festive Santa hat when you bring a new, unwrapped toy as a donation to the Salvation Army. 6pm to 8pm. 
  • Midtown Mistletoe Market at Midtown Park | Saturday, December 7 | No cover – Enjoy a full day of live entertainment, holiday movie screenings, and a local vendor market that features fine arts, handmade crafts, epicurean-style foods, and more during the annual holiday market in Midtown Park. 10am to 6pm.
  • THE ICE at Discovery Green | Through Sunday, February 2, 2020 – Lace up your skates and hit The ICE at Discovery Green, one of Downtown’s signature holiday events throughout the winter season. Take a glance at their calendar for themed skate nights on select dates. Tickets start at $15, plus fees. Times vary.

If you’re looking to turn your visit to holiday events around Houston into a staycation with family, friends and loved ones, then check out Hilton Hotels. With more than 90 locations around the Greater Houston area—many within minutes of these events—there’s always a place nearby to rest your head after a night out at holiday festivities. Click here to check out locations and amenities at Hilton Hotels around Houston

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Sugar Land Holiday Lights | Courtesy of Constellation Field

Holiday Events in Sugar Land

The sweet city southwest of Houston is chock full of holiday happenings around town, including festive concerts at Smart Financial Centre, as well as a heap of attractions and must-do things that could make for a wonderful holiday staycation.

If you’re looking to turn your visit to holiday events around Sugar Land and Greater Houston into a staycation with family, friends and loved ones, then check out Hilton Hotels. With more than 90 locations around the Greater Houston area—many within minutes of these events—there’s always a place nearby to rest your head after a night out at holiday festivities. Click here to check out locations and amenities at Hilton Hotels around Houston

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Ice Land at Moody Gardens | Photo courtesy of Moody Gardens

Holiday Events in Galveston

Though it may be too cold to hit the beach, the gulf-side city of Galveston is also home to plenty of other must-do things, a walkable district filled with amazing architecture, and an historic theater with a bustling slate of holiday shows.

  • 46th Annual Dickens on the Strand | Friday, December 6 to Sunday, December 8 – Galveston turns back the clock when the annual celebration of Charles Dickens’ Victorian London takes over the historic Strand district. Enjoy parades, live entertainment, strolling carolers, roving musicians, food carts, and more. Tickets are $13; $7 for ages 7 to 12 if purchased online before Friday, December 2, 2019. Tickets are $15 at the gate; $9 for ages 7 to 12. Arrive in Victorian-era attire and receive half-price admission. Times vary.
  • Santa Hustle 5k & Half Marathon in Galveston | Sunday, December 15 – Register for this festive jaunt through Galveston and you’ll receive a beard, hat and performance hoodie to complete your Santa look. Upgrade for an additional fee and don a snazzy pair of candy cane socks, a red tutu, arm warmers, and face tattoos. Stick around for a post-race party with cookies, candy canes, and holiday tunes. Tickets start at $44.75, plus fees. Events begin with the Kids Dash at 6:45am. 
  • Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer: The Musical at The Grand 1894 Opera House | Saturday, December 28 – Relive the story of the “most famous reindeer of all” with an afternoon musical performance at the historic Grand 1894 Opera House in Downtown Galveston. Tickets for the holiday classic start at $22.50. 1pm and 4pm.
  • The Polar Express Train Ride at Galveston Railroad Museum | Select dates through Sunday, December 29 – The annual tradition from Galveston Railroad Museum whisks a train full of passengers away for a one-hour ride to meet Santa, complete with hot chocolate and dancing chefs. Tickets start at $27. Times vary.
  • Holiday in the Gardens at Moody Gardens | Through Sunday, January 12, 2020 – Throughout the holiday season, Moody Gardens is transformed into a winter wonderland, featuring eight holiday attractions, including the carved sculptures of Ice Land, the Festival of Lights, a stellar cirque dinner and show, ice skating, photos with Santa, and more. Tickets start at $17.95, with several ticketing options available. Times vary.

If you’re looking to turn your visit to holiday events around Galveston and Greater Houston into a staycation with family, friends and loved ones, then check out Hilton Hotels. With more than 90 locations around the Greater Houston area—many within minutes of these events—there’s always a place nearby to rest your head after a night out at holiday festivities. Click here to check out locations and amenities at Hilton Hotels around Houston

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Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival | Photo courtesy of Katy Market Day

Holiday Events in Katy

About thirty minutes west of Houston, the heritage-rich city of Katy is home to an historic downtown district and other must-see things to explore, as well as a thriving scene ripe for brunch, happy hour, and nightlife.

  • Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Historic Downtown Katy | Thursday, December 5 | FREE – Make your way to Downtown Katy for the annual Christmas tree lighting. Hang out and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies, a Christmas story, and a live performance from the local choir and dance company—and don’t forget your camera for a photo with Santa. 6:30pm to 8:30pm.
  • 10th Annual Katy Old-Fashioned Christmas Festival in Historic Downtown Katy | Saturday, December 7 | No Cover – The annual festival celebrates its tenth year, where visitors can browse a holiday market filled with produce, arts and crafts, antiques, clothing, handmade goodies and more. The afternoon event also includes food trucks, live entertainment, a beer garden, and 50,000 pounds of snow to keep your little snow angels entertained. 10am to 5pm. 
  • Candy Cane Market at Cane Island | Saturday, December 7 | No Cover – The Cane Island subdivision hosts its annual Candy Cane Market, featuring over sixty local vendors, food trucks, signature drinks, photos with Santa and more. 11am.
  • Fulshear Festival of Lights at Fulshear High School | Saturday, December 7 | FREE – Just minutes southwest of Katy, the Fulshear Festival of Lights gets rolling with its annual parade featuring Santa Claus, local vendors, and live music from Nick and the Groove. 5pm to 9pm.
  • Frank Hart’s Fantastical Amazing Christmas Concert at Central Green Park | Saturday, December 21 | FREE – For the seventh year, Frank and his Fantastical Band put on a high-energy holiday show that offers fun covers of Christmas favorites at Central Green Park in LaCenterra shopping district. 7pm.

If you’re looking to turn your visit to holiday events around Katy and Greater Houston into a staycation with family, friends and loved ones, then check out Hilton Hotels. With more than 90 locations around the Greater Houston area—many within minutes of these events—there’s always a place nearby to rest your head after a night out at holiday festivities. Click here to check out locations and amenities at Hilton Hotels around Houston

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Market Street in The Woodlands | Courtesy of The Woodlands Township

Holiday Events in The Woodlands

A half-hour ride up I-45 from Houston, The Woodlands is a burgeoning area of bustling activity, including highly walkable areas, must-see restaurants and markets, and popular spots for brunch, happy hour, and nightlife.

  • The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center | Through Monday, January 20, 2020 – The Woodlands holiday tradition of hitting the ice returns with daily opportunities to glide around the indoor skating rink, take in concessions, and sail along to tunes pumping from the state-of-the-art sound system. Tickets are $12.50; $6 for ages 5 and under. Hours vary.
  • Holly Jolly Jingle at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion | Thursday, December 5 | FREE – This free holiday concert tradition returns with performances of seasonal favorites by orchestras and student musicians from across Conroe ISD, plus caroling and performances in the plaza. 7:30pm.
  • Christmas in the Woods at Inspiration Ranch | Sunday, December 8 | No Cover – Minutes west of The Woodlands in Magnolia, Inspiration Ranch opens its gates for a free family-friendly event that boasts photos with Santa, The Polar Express hayride, a screening of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, a holiday market filled with local vendors and more. RSVP is recommended. 2pm to 8pm.
  • Jingle Bell Run at Rob Fleming Aquatic Center | Saturday, December 14 – In support of the Arthritis Foundation, the annual festive race for charity sends runners and walkers on a 5K course along Lake Paloma and Taylor Pond. Registration is $35. Exhibitor booths are open at 7am, with the race slated to start at 8:15am.
  • Menorah Lighting at Market Street in The Woodlands | Sunday, December 22 | FREE – Make your way to Market Street for the lighting of a nine-foot, seven-branched Menorah, followed by musical entertainment and traditional Chanukah food as part of the eighth annual Grand Chanukah Celebration. 4:30pm to 6:30pm.

If you’re looking to turn your visit to holiday events around The Woodlands and Greater Houston into a staycation with family, friends and loved ones, then check out Hilton Hotels. With more than 90 locations around the Greater Houston area—many within minutes of these events—there’s always a place nearby to rest your head after a night out at holiday festivities. Click here to check out locations and amenities at Hilton Hotels around Houston

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Courtesy of Hilton Hotels

This article was sponsored by Hilton Hotels. Per our advertising and sponsorship policy, we only accept sponsored content from organizations that meet our editorial standards and truly present a valuable activity, event, resource or destination for residents and visitors across the greater Houston area. Click here to learn about promoting your event or business.

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